St. Louis, MO based artist MB-CALM has been a lifelong music lover. MB-CALM has several previous releases, but he’s pulled them all in place of his most recent project, spending the last two years learning production so that he could fully realize his vision for his future work. The result is a fully self-produced album he says truly represents himself as an artist. Sermon of Calm is a hard-hitting, dynamic hip-hop record with R&B undertones and bold, soulful moments – it’s a powerful example of skill, musicality, and determination in one radio-ready package.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
Energy radiates from the title track and introduction to the album, Sermon of Calm. MB-CALM’s voice is gritty and genuine, pouring authenticity into each and every measure. This opening track makes great use of open space – it’s not overproduced (something seen so often in this genre), and the background instrumentation cuts out to emphasize important lyrical moments and musical transitions. The last 30 seconds of the track serve as a spoken word introduction to the rest of the album, prepping the listener for a dose of truth and facts delivered in signature MB-CALM style (an addition you’ll find at the end of every track)
King of What features a collection of choral synths and deep percussion. It has a dark feel for the majority of the track, but in the second half the instrumentation lightens, and the track softens with a smoother delivery and more musical arrangement.
The best vocal performance of the album comes at Learn Accountability (Wallo267 Talk). Much of the composition has loosely ’80s vibes, with bouncy, reverberating synths, but the piano-backed section is more vulnerable and reveals the track’s message of learning to own up to your mistakes.
The deep string intro to No Curtains is ear-catching, as is the chorus of backing vocals that serve as the foundation for the track. This track – like every track on the album – comes complete with a short “sermon” at the end, expanding on the message of the song and presenting it to the listener like it’s a Sunday at church. The sermon at the end of this track is a good encapsulation of the entire album, a sort of summation of what MB-CALM is striving to do with this record – own your moment and be the best that you can possibly be.
Another standout on this album is Turn Up for the Weekend. A rich string arrangement and light percussion lead us into the track and drive it throughout. The chorus features a repetitive hook that makes it endlessly catchy and is equally relatable. This is one of the most playlistable tracks on the album.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
Taking What Is Mine is a collection of all of MB-CALM’s best features. The a cappella vocal intro is bold and beautifully performed, MB-CALM’s voice shining like a beacon in the darkness. This gives way to his signature rap style, his voice full of character and clarity, delivering his story to the listener with finesse and vision. His vocals the main musical element, walking the line between R&B and hip-hop just by changing the inflection in his voice. And there are plenty of brilliant lyrical moments here as well, a particular standout line being “I’ve been to prison but I’ve got a masters, I’m killing the game but I don’t need a master.” And the sermon at the end of the track serves to reinforce the overall message – pray to God, and then take what’s yours.
This is high-caliber hip hop with a keen eye on production, full of clever lyricism and excellent performances across the board. MB-CALM has a clear sense of his own style, embracing minimalist themes and textured vocal lines to create his recognizable brand of rap. This has vision and depth in the production that feels far more experienced than someone as new to producing as MB-CALM. Sermon of Calm is fresh, visual music that will resonate with anyone who can appreciate a dynamic, innovative approach to modern hip-hop & R&B-influenced styles.
BELOW: Listen to Sermon of Calm and connect with his website and social media platforms. Please support MB-CALM by visiting him online, and playing, downloading, and/or purchasing his music, or attending a live show! And, as always, thank you for supporting real music!
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